UAV for Ag Ken Giles

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UAV for Ag Ken Giles

  1. 1. Unmanned Aircraft for Agricultural Spraying of Specialty Crops Ken Giles Ryan Billing UC-Davis Biological & Agricultural Engineering Small Unmanned Systems Business Expo July 2013
  2. 2. Overview of current project: - UAV development and deployment in the United States - Regulatory process - Commercial availability - Suitability for specialty crops - Testing protocol and results - Future work
  3. 3. Overview of current project: -UAV development and deployment in the United States Significant interest in the ag sector. UAV: “Dull, dirty & dangerous”. (Bob Cabanya, UAS, Inc) Primarily for inspection, asset tracking. Hobbyist industry.
  4. 4. Overview of current project: -Regulatory process No commercial use of UAV’s. Public agencies can deploy UAV’s via the COA (Certificate of Authorization) process. Current ag spraying R&D project under UC Davis COA.
  5. 5. Overview of current project: -Regulatory process Must have pilot and observer with both passed FAA knowledge test for Private Pilot and Class 2 Medical Certificates. Must file NOTAM prior to flight and notify Air Traffic Control. Typical line of sight operation, daylight hours, VFR, > 5 nm from airport.
  6. 6. Overview of current project: -Regulatory process “Dropping of objects” prohibited. Conducted a safety analysis of spraying water and was approved. Have two operational areas in CA: Napa grape growing area Central Valley nut growing area
  7. 7. Commercial Product: RMAX™ – Yamaha Motor Company. • 100 kg • 2-stroke, liquid-cooled, 250 cc, 13.6 kW engine • 3.1 m rotor diameter • 16 l liquid capacity • 3 nozzles (1 or 2 active) (Fine / Med-Fine cat.) • 400 m line of sight ops • 1000 hr life • Remote control with visual, not autonomous operation
  8. 8. Specialty Crops: Small, complex fields (45° slope) Limited access during certain phases of season Permanent plantings High value Season long spraying
  9. 9. Specialty Crops: Napa Valley winegrapes – premium production in Oakville
  10. 10. Specialty Crops:
  11. 11. Objectives of current project: - Feasibility of commercial UAV for spraying? Physical suitability Spray deposition Productivity Key parameters: l/ha deposit l/ha applied
  12. 12. Spray deposition: COA allowed only water to be sprayed: Water sensitive paper for sample medium 13 sample locations within canopy and on ground Analyzed using Drop Vision AG (Leading Edge Assoc.)
  13. 13. Spray deposition:
  14. 14. Application rates & productivity: Productivity and application rate testing in a Cabernet Sauvignon block at the Oakville Field Station (UC) in Napa Valley, CA Forward & downward video cameras on aircraft Direct measurement of area and spray volume discharged Spray, ferry, refill times observed. Local meteorology recorded
  15. 15. Test Design: Due to payload and spray pump constraints on aircraft, only method to adjust application rate (l/ha) was by swath width and number of passes.
  16. 16. Test Results: Application rates 2.4 m row spacing 13 – 15 km/hr ground speed 2 row swath x 2 passes = 39.03 l/ha 2 row swath x 1 pass = 19.76 l/ha 3 row swath x 2 passes = 29.20 l/ha 3 row swath x 1 pass = 13.99 l/ha
  17. 17. Test Results: Field productivity 0.6 ha test block 61 m length 1 -2 tank loads 2 row swath x 2 passes = 2.02 ha/hr 2 row swath x 1 pass = 3.69 ha/ha 3 row swath x 2 passes = 2.68 ha/hr 3 row swath x 1 pass = 4.50 ha/hr
  18. 18. Test Results: Field deposition
  19. 19. Test Results: Field deposition
  20. 20. Test Results: Field deposition 0.6 ha test block 61 m length 1 -2 tank loads 2 row swath x 2 passes = 46.21 (34.89) l/ha 2 row swath x 1 pass = 12.12 (10.66) l/ha 3 row swath x 2 passes = 15.94 (18.57) l/ha 3 row swath x 1 pass = 2.45 ( 1.77) l/ha
  21. 21. Test Results: Field Deposition All data means No trimming
  22. 22. Test Results: Field Deposition Outliers trimmed
  23. 23. Test Results: Field Deposition vs. Field Capacity Outliers trimmed
  24. 24. Test Results: Swath Analysis
  25. 25. Test Results: Swath Analysis + / - 8 m from CL spray cards Ground speed average 13.3 km/hr 3 m release height 12 replications Winds 1 – 12 km/hr + / - 67°
  26. 26. Test Results: Swath Analysis Winds 23° from left 3.1 m/s
  27. 27. Test Results: Model in AGDISP Many key parameters outside of model limits Challenges:AGDISP Limit RMAX Rotor Diameter Min 3.58 m 1.79 m Boom Vertical Disp. Max -1.80 m -1.00 m Forward Speed Min 17.88 m/s 3.55 m/s RPM Max 503 840 Weight 434 kg 100 kg
  28. 28. Test Results: Model in AGDISP
  29. 29. Test Results: Model in AGDISP
  30. 30. Conclusions: UAV is a feasible spraying alternative to manned aerial application. The tested platform (Yamaha RMAX™) is a low volume, small droplet size application. Increasing application rate volume is challenging and not without significant decreases in field capacity (work rate). Flight and vehicle parameters are outside the recommended ranges for AGDISP inputs.
  31. 31. Next Steps: Will be spraying active ingredients to determine biological efficacy and performance. Will develop field measurements of off-target drift. Will develop business case and grower economics. Will begin regulatory activities to address permitting and chemical label constraints.
  32. 32. Public acceptance of UAV-based spraying:

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